Faith for Western Christian Families

Dear Western Christian Families,

Faith in God is a terrific venture into the dark; I have to believe that God is good in spite of everything that contradicts it in my daily experience” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest).  Right now as we all look around, there sure seems to be a lot that contradicts the goodness of God.  Every worldview must answer this problem of “evil” or “pain” in the world, though, because you can’t deny the presence of pain all around us.  I believe Christianity answers it the best as our God actually entered our pain and took our place on the cross out of love for His creation.  He also redeems our pain as he uses it to grow us more into His image so that we can be a source of hope and light to the broken world around us. 

So just what is FAITH?  The term FAITH is used and thrown around as we hear people say, “Keep the faith” and “Just have faith” and the list goes on.  In Hebrews 11:1 we read, “Now FAITH is the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things that are not seen.”  The focus here is not on the faith but rather on the OBJECT of the faith.  We often try to muster up more faith, and we say that we just have to have more faith.  Jesus, on the contrary, says that if you have FAITH like a mustard seed, you could move a mountain.  A mustard seed is actually one of the smallest seeds around, and yet when you plant it, it has the ability to grow into a bush that can be the size of a large tree.  Jesus’ message in this is that though your faith at times seems small, if He is the object of your faith, nothing shall be impossible!

So the next question that naturally follows is what is the OBJECT of your FAITH?  Everybody has faith, even the atheist.  The object of faith for an atheist is simply themselves—their faith is in their own ingenuity and wisdom to solve the problems that life throws at them.  They have chosen to become their own god.  They fail to see that their very ability to think and reason is due to the fact that they are created “in the image” of God. As Romans 1:17 says, “They exchange the truth of God for a lie and worship creation over the Creator.”  Ultimately they have chosen to worship themselves.  So it logically follows that what you worship is what will naturally become the object of your faith.  At this time in history, everything that our culture worships and puts their faith in has been toppled and been found to be lacking in every way.  FAITH in God alone is secure and can never be shaken because He is an unshakable foundation.  Your FAITH may be shaken as was Peter’s on the night Jesus was betrayed and crucified—He denied Jesus not once, not twice, but on three separate occasions.  Thus comes the good news of II Timothy 2:13, “If we are FAITHLESS, He remains FAITHFUL.”  The object of our faith remains faithful forever—In Him alone will I therefore put my faith!!

My whole family witnessed a story of simple, childlike faith many years ago when we housed two little guys from Africa and the Philippines, Solomon and Sang, just for one night.  As I went to pray with them, Solomon asked, “Uncle Greg, does it snow in Upland?”  I said emphatically, “No.  In the mountains above us, it snows, but not down here.”  Upon hearing my answer, he began to pray simply, “Dear God, please let it snow tonight!  Amen.”  Oh, how little faith I had as I just thought, “Oh, bless his little heart.”  To my amazement, I woke up the next morning, and as the Lord and my family are my witnesses, it was snowing!!  The ground and the streets were white with snow and people were out taking pictures and cars were sliding along Foothill Blvd.  As I drove them up Euclid toward the Claremont campus, the falling snow actually began to turn to rain.  To my amazement, the snow was falling down below and yet higher above it turned to rain—the usual pattern had been switched!!  Oh, Greg, you of little faith!!  The Bible says in order to enter the kingdom of God you must become like a little child; in other words, you must have a child like faith that realizes you need help—you can’t save yourself.  The wisdom of man is foolishness to God—Put your FAITH in Him alone!!  You won’t be disappointed! 

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